licensing procedures

Richard Hill rehill at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Oct 27 14:23:10 CST 1996

Rod's comment makes great sense...until you try to implement it.  What is
(are) the requirement(s)?  Some say you must be an academic to be
qualified (often because all academics are impartial and free from
politics...Do you recall your last faculty meeting).  What "institution"
do you have to be associated with?  Will "institutions" offer associations
for a fee?  Will the associations be free from politics?

What test will be given?  Who will administer it?  What disciplines will
be represented?  Ninty molecular genetics questions, ten morphology
questions:  5 plant, 3 animal, one fish and one invertebrate, and extra
credit questions on the internet?

I am being silly.  ;-}   I am pessimistic, however interested.

But look at the test for engineers or geologists, or foresters, wildlife
biologists, fishery biologists, or conservation biologists.  They do not
weed out many people, and many who pass the test go on to work outside
their training and experience while hiding behind their registrations.
Many do not pass the first time, take refresher courses and pass.

I am concerned that the tests would become so general that anyone with a
little background could pass them, and then go out and do what they want.
This of course would depend on the levels of testing that are developed
and the status associated with the testing authority.

I am also concerned that you might further distance the volunteer
community from taxonomy, and that would be the opposite of what is needed.

Who will police the licensees?  Will police be successful in maintaining a
high level of proficiency and accuracy?

I think you will be better off and more successful in developing voucher
referees who can verify determinations, for a fee, and who have the status
to cause change by the force of their standing in the taxonomic -and-
consulting community.

The line between professional taxonomists and academic taxonomists is thin
and narrow.  It will grow fainter and narrower as institutions require
taxonomists to provide more self-support.  When you form a national
taxonomists union it will have more non-academic members than academic
members reflecting the relative number of jobs out there.  More
taxonomists will be members of regional groups than will join the national
union unless you have something significant to offer.  What will you offer
that will cause the union's membership to reach significance?

You wrote:
>Why should not professionals in any field (taxonomists in this case)
>seek licensing procedures for persons and firms that do the same work,
>but without degrees or appropriate association with appropriate institu-
>tions?  This would require some homegrown types like myself to do some
>arduous studying to pass examines (in a way, I hope!), but it would help
>convert the nonsense lists to more useful ones.  It would also help
>focus businesses and governmental agencies on to the right talent for a
>A parataxonomist would have to have his/her "papers" in order to be able
>operate.  The license might require renewal.  Or their might be grades of
>licenses.  Essentially, this would convert on the job experience and
>(successful) self-education and apprenticeships into value.  Just as
>education is (in part) converted to value by a degree.
>Rod Tulloss

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